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[bohld] /boʊld/
adjective, bolder, boldest.
not hesitating or fearful in the face of actual or possible danger or rebuff; courageous and daring:
a bold hero.
not hesitating to break the rules of propriety; forward; impudent:
He apologized for being so bold as to speak to the emperor.
necessitating courage and daring; challenging:
a bold adventure.
beyond the usual limits of conventional thought or action; imaginative:
Einstein was a bold mathematician. a difficult problem needing a bold answer.
striking or conspicuous to the eye; flashy; showy:
a bold pattern.
steep; abrupt:
a bold promontory.
Nautical. deep enough to be navigable close to the shore:
bold waters.
Printing. typeset in boldface.
Obsolete. trusting; assured.
be / make (so) bold, to presume or venture; dare:
I made bold to offer my suggestion.
Origin of bold
before 1000; Middle English bald, bold, Old English b(e)ald; cognate with Old Saxon, Old High German bald, Dutch boud bold, Old Norse ballr dire < Germanic *bál-tha-z; akin to Welsh balch proud, Irish balc strong < *bal-ko-
Related forms
boldly, adverb
boldness, noun
overbold, adjective
overboldly, adverb
overboldness, noun
superbold, adjective
superboldly, adverb
superboldness, noun
unbold, adjective
unboldly, adverb
unboldness, noun
Can be confused
bolder, boulder.
1. fearless, adventurous, brave, valiant, intrepid, valorous, dauntless. 2. Bold, brazen, forward, presumptuous may refer to manners in a derogatory way. Bold suggests impudence, shamelessness, and immodesty: a bold stare. Brazen suggests the same, together with a defiant manner: a brazen liar. Forward implies making oneself unduly prominent or bringing oneself to notice with too much assurance. Presumptuous implies overconfidence, effrontery, taking too much for granted.
2. modest. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for boldness
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • So Calvin's eye saw in an instant, and he applauded Beza's boldness.

  • The gayety of a light-hearted maiden is often unmixed with boldness, or crime.

    Philothea Lydia Maria Child
  • She was bold, but not brazen; hers seemed the boldness, the directness, of a child or a savage.

    To Him That Hath Leroy Scott
  • She divined him, moreover, to be a blend of boldness and timidity.

    The Spenders Harry Leon Wilson
  • The narrative of his voyages proves the boldness of his seamanship.

    Calvert and Penn Brantz Mayer
British Dictionary definitions for boldness


courageous, confident, and fearless; ready to take risks
showing or requiring courage: a bold plan
immodest or impudent: she gave him a bold look
standing out distinctly; conspicuous: a figure carved in bold relief
very steep: the bold face of the cliff
imaginative in thought or expression: the novel's bold plot
(printing) set in bold face
(printing) short for bold face
Derived Forms
boldly, adverb
boldness, noun
Word Origin
Old English beald; related to Old Norse ballr dangerous, terrible, baldinn defiant, Old High German bald bold
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for boldness



Old English beald (West Saxon), bald (Anglian) "bold, brave, confident, strong," from Proto-Germanic *balthaz (cf. Old High German bald "bold, swift," in names such as Archibald, Leopold, Theobald; Gothic balþei "boldness;" Old Norse ballr "frightful, dangerous"), perhaps from PIE *bhol-to- suffixed form of *bhel- (2) "to blow, swell" (see bole).

Of flavors (coffee, etc.) from 1829. The noun meaning "those who are bold" is from c.1300. Old French and Provençal baut "bold," Italian baldo "bold, daring, fearless" are Germanic loan-words.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Idioms and Phrases with boldness


In addition to the idiom beginning with
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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